EWU Women Open New Year Vs. Big Sky Foes - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EWU Women Open New Year Vs. Big Sky Foes

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by EWU Athletics Media Relations

The Eastern Washington women's basketball team will welcome 2014 with a pair of home Big Sky contests against Weber State and Idaho State. The Eagles square off with the Wildcats on Thursday, Jan. 2, at 6 p.m. before facing the Bengals on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Eastern (4-6, 0-1 Big Sky) dropped its first league game of the season last Sunday against visiting Portland State, 86-74. The game featured six ties and 10 lead changes, but the Vikings went on a 9-1 run late in the game, forcing the Eagles to foul in order to conserve time. EWU would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way, however, as PSU drained 10 of 12 free throws down the stretch.

Junior Lexie Nelson continued her stellar play of light, dropping a career-high 29 points against Portland State on 9-of-15 shooting. She made a career-best five three-pointers on just 10 attempts and finished a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Nelson has now scored at least 20 points in her last three outings.

Senior Laura Hughes was the only other Eagle in double figures versus the Vikings, registering 16 points and five rebounds. The duo have now scored in double figures in Eastern's last seven games. The pair also both rank in the top five in the Big Sky in scoring and field goal percentage.

The Eagles come into the week shooting a Big Sky-best 44.3 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from three-point territory, marks that rank in the top 50 nationally. EWU's assist average of 17.4 is good for second in the conference while its assist-turnover ratio of 1.1 ranks third.

Weber State (4-5, 0-0 BSC) enters Thursday's game winless in its last two outings, dropping close contests to BYU and Colorado State by a combined 10 points. The only team to go winless a season ago, the Wildcats are 0-4 in road games so far this season. Desiree Ramos (13.4 ppg, 4.6 apg) is the team's leading scorer while Jalen Carpenter (11.2 ppg, 6.9) is WSU's top rebounder. As a team, Weber State shoots 41.8 percent from the field and 27.1 percent from three-point range, scoring an average of 72.2 points per game.

Idaho State (2-7, 0-0 BSC) has lost its last seven games, all of which came on the road. The Bengals have played at Big 12 member Oklahoma State and Big 10 member Iowa, while also taking on Utah State and Boise State in its nonconference slate. ISU is shooting at a 33.1-percent clip and 22.2 percent from long range while averaging 58.4 points per game. Lindsey Reed (14.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.3 apg) and Jessica Tingey (11.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg) are the Bengals' top offensive threats.

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